words_Nick Engvall

On Saturday, South Carolina and UCLA came away with victories to land them in the 2010 College World Series Finals.

For South Carolina, it was a 4-3 victory over the rival Clemson Tigers that landed them in the best-of-three championship series. A solid pitching effort from starter Sam Dyson who went 6 and 1/3 innings, followed up by an equally impressive 2 and 2/3 innings from reliever Matt Price, combined to shut down the opponents offense the way the Gamecocks’ pitching staff has done all season.

In the bottom of the seventh Christian Walker, who had homered earlier in the game, singled in the go ahead run for South Carolina. Then in the top of the ninth with Clemson threatening, Walker made a diving stop at first base for the final out that gave South Carolina the victory, and a chance to win a title since they runner-up in 2002.

South Carolina will face another dominant pitching team tonight when the College World Series Championship Series against UCLA begins.

For the Bruins, the school is an athletic powerhouse. Yet, the baseball team has never won a championship, and this is only their third appearance in the College World Series, the first since 1997.

If Saturday’s 10-3 victory over TCU is any forewarning, the Bruins baseball team is tired of being one of the only sports not contributing to UCLA’s 106 national titles. The Bruins offense unloaded on TCU pitching and Trevor Bauer was dominating on the mound with 13 strikeouts in eight innings of work.

For this afternoon’s first game of the series, it will be Gerrit Cole (11-3, 3.26 ERA) of UCLA, against Blake Cooper (12-2, 2.86 ERA) of South Carolina. If you think that the pitching matchup looks evenly matched, consider how these teams compare against each other.

The Bruins are 51-15, are batting .308 as a team and average 7.1 runs per game, and have a team ERA of 3.01. The Gamecocks are 52-16 with a .301 team batting average that puts up 7.2 runs per game on the scoreboard.

The only stat that is not nearly identical is in the ERA department, where South Carolina’s pitching gives up slightly more runs per game with a 3.53 ERA.

With that said, this championship series could be the most evenly matched and exciting we’ve seen in a number of years.

You can catch game one later today on ESPN HD/ ESPN3 at 7:30 EST.

image via yahoo